Volunteers plan to restore Sheffield grave

Grave of Sgt Wilfred Billingham in Shiregreen Cemetery
Grave of Sgt Wilfred Billingham in Shiregreen Cemetery

Big-hearted volunteers have stepped in after an appeal in The Star to help restore the overgrown grave of an airman killed in a crash.

War researcher Kelvin Youngs urged the family of Sgt Wilfred Billingham to get in touch after he was sent a photograph of the grave in Shiregreen cemetery.

And just hours later he was contacted by people offering to help.

One was from former RAF Senior Aircraftsman Craig Allen, who spotted the story online.

Dad-of-two Craig, of Swallownest, said: “I’m hoping to go up to the grave next Wednesday and at the very least I’m sure we will be able to do some weeding and make it look like it is respected.

“Regardless of the fact he died on a training mission, Sgt Billingham gave his life for his country.

“I just wanted to do something to get the grave back to its former glory.

“Hopefully we can work with the council and War Graves Commission to get it back to how it should be.”

Sgt Billingham was 21 when he was killed with his pilot during a training flight, when their aircraft clipped trees near Kilham in East Yorkshire on February 5, 1943.

He is buried with his father Joseph Billingham, who lived with his mother Eliza in Shiregreen.

Grandma Jenny Morley, of Ecclesfield, has also stepped forward to help trace the relatives of Sgt Billingham.

The retired librarian, who has turned her hobby of genealogy into a business but is carrying out the research for free, said she had already located a descendant of Sgt Billingham living in Cheshire.

To help restore the grave email Craig Allen at c.allen@lrss.co.uk